Saturday, 18 February 2017

Eleven Years Ago

I can see clearly now
Time waits for no man or mother but I can still remember with perfect clarity, the struggles of babyhood as they applied to me.  

There are no babies in this house anymore yet when the sun shines a particular way, or a rain drop hits my cheek on a random Tuesday, I can be transported back to that time.   A smell, even a sound can open that Pandora’s box of not so nice memories.  

See, the really young baby years didn’t agree with me at all.   I like to think I have a certain perspective eleven years later because I have comparisons now.  Back then when the babies arrived back to back, I was still caught up in one vortex when the next storm landed.   Trying to make sense of a toddler and his moods and cognitive developments whilst grappling with a new-born and those dreaded, god awful sleepless nights.

This is the eve of Oldest Boy’s eleventh birthday.  As I write this I think about another Saturday evening eleven years ago in Kilkenny hospital when contractions forced me out of my bed at exactly 6pm having been induced earlier on that day.

He was born twelve hours later.  A short albeit extremely painful and scary twelve hours later.

I’ve always maintained that giving birth is the easy bit; it’s what follows that tests us and gives us pause to think.

Or drive us mad.  Or make us stronger.  Or wear us down.

There are those who say great things are born from pain.  I’m not sure I would agree.  Great things are also born from joy.     

I have a great deal of joy in my life.  I guess I always did but at times there was a cloud over it, blocking my perspective.

That cloud has moved on now. 

And like a random Tuesday recovering from a summer shower, my path is clear and the air bright.  There are also a few kids playing on it.

Four of them.  I know them by their movements, their laughter and the way they shout to each other.

Eleven years ago I was in labour for the first time.  The baby years are gone now and another era stretches out in front of us.  One of laughter and tears.  A time of learning and discovery. 

But if there are four kids walking that path with me, I know we will be more than ok.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

How Do You Eat an Elephant

Happy New Year!  How has your day been so far?  I hope it didn’t begin with a hangover and if it did, I will admit to feeling a bit envious.  I realise I’ve contradicted myself there. 

Something has been rattling around in my head of late.   Something besides my brain, that is.   A little thought.   As I am prone at this time of year, I like to make plans for the next 12 months.  Not big ones.   I’m all for a challenge but I also like to win sometimes.  New Year’s resolutions are a recipe for disaster and a sure-fire way to fail if you ask me.

But then I reckon it also depends on what you set your mind to and more importantly, the steps you take to making that goal happen.

Last year I decided on two things:  one was to train for and complete a 10k.   The other was to get published in some shape or form once a month.

I received a medal for being the first lady across the finish line for the 10k race and I can claim to a 70% success rate for the writing part.

As far as I am concerned, those are achievements.

This year I plan to look at something that was successful for me in 2016, examine how I did it and work at doing it again.  I also want to take an area that wasn’t so rewarding and improve on it for this year.

It helps that the areas I have mentioned above bring me immense and satisfaction so I don’t foresee many problems for 2017.

I say that now.

But I learned that little steps can earn huge rewards.    

And to answer the elephant question.   The answer is, one bite at a time.

Happy New Year.  I wish you all the best in your dreams and endeavours for 2017.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Christmas Interviews 2016

For me, I think Christmas begins when the boys get their holidays from school.  Which was today.  At midday.  There is a definite shift in my mood as I have everything done, right down to the last item in the fridge and several lists with very satisfying black lines crossing though the items.   

Ok, so maybe tonight I will pick up one final santy thing but then, let there be no mistake, I will hit the Christmas spirit with a glass in my hand! 

I thought I would get nosey with the boys and see if they are having Christmas feels yet.   

But let’s face it, there are four of them aged 11 (almost) down to five and a half.   Of course they are feeling it.    

So I decided to ask them a few Christmassy questions to get the measure of their thoughts.  

You got your Christmas holidays from school today.  What does it feel like to be so close to Christmas?

First Boy:  Well, at the start of advent I was really excited.  But I’m not that excited now.  I’ll probably be excited on Friday.  And on Christmas eve.  I feel like Friday is kind of in the way.  Saturday will be in the way no matter what but I don’t mind because we’re not used to having the whole day off really so the days go really slowly.  Unless we spend it in town it will probably be boring.  But I will be really excited on Christmas eve.  But the tension will be rising in Friday.  

Second Boy:   It still feels like it’s far away.  

Third Boy:  Really, really excited.  Because you’re getting a lot of presents off santy. 

Smallest Boy:  Coz there’s two more days left!  It’s just like Christmas is getting faster and faster and it never stops moving.   And also the days don’t end.  They might even go twenty meters past Christmas.  And if it does – no wait – also we don’t really know this, but I think Christmas might get 6 metres and 12 metres combined.  Closer and closer.  That’s all.  

What are you most looking forward to about Christmas?

First Boy:  I’m thinking and looking for a way to put it.  Yeah, ok.  I really like St.  Stephens day because like, we have dinner at nana’s and we usually have loads of fun there because Ben’s there and stuff.  And also I think there are two bits I am most looking forward to on Christmas day; in the morning because that’s like, when we open the door and the tension is like, super high.  And after that I like paying with the presents.  And then like, whenever our aunties come over, it’s really good because like, we get more presents. 

Second Boy:    My birthday after it.  Jesus Christ.

Third Boy:  Presents.  No!  Being with family. 

Smallest Boy:  I don’t know.  (He absolutely does and is dying to say presents but he knows this is for my blog!)  Don’t put down I don’t know, Mammy.    

Are there any Christmas traditions in your family?

First Boy:  Going to nanas on St. Stephens day for dinner.   Going to grandads for the party.  And on Christmas day our aunties come to us instead of us going to them.  

Second Boy:  We put up the Christmas tree.  

Third Boy:  Celebrate.  And nana’s.  And celebrate. 

Smallest Boy:  Celebrate Christmas.   There’s a party in grandads every year.   That’s a tradition!

What is Christmas all about?

First Boy:  Being happy and being as nice as you can.  Even though you’re meant to be nice the whole year but people tend to be nicer in December because santy is coming. 

Second Boy:  Joy.  Jesus Christ.   Santa!

Third Boy:  Friends and family. 

Smallest Boy:  Oohhh.  Like having rakes of days off school.  We be nice and we get presents.   Mammy, that’s all. 

Why does Rudolph have a red nose?

First Boy:  I think it might be because he like, (silence for a long time) This is a hard question.   I don’t really know actually. 

Second Boy:  Coz he has a really bad cold.  

Third Boy:  Because he needs to guide the sleigh so they don’t crash and Christmas is ruined. 

Smallest Boy:  Oh, coz it’s so bright.  No!  Because it’s so dark. 

Do you know any Christmas jokes?

First Boy:  Yeah!  What’s the difference between a snowman and a snowwoman?  Snow balls!!!  

Second Boy:  (Thinking for ages.)   No.

Third Boy:  What do snowmen put on their sandwiches or lunch?   Chilli sauce!

Smallest Boy:  No.

Wishing you all a merry christmas and whatever you get up to, it is with safety and joy in your hearts!  Here's to a mighty 2017.